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Edifier W820NB Plus review: Affordable headphones with plenty of features
1:00 pm | February 24, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Audio Computers Gadgets Headphones Wireless Headphones | Tags: | Comments: Off

Edifier W820NB Plus: Three-minute review

The Edifier W820NB Plus is a prime example of a cheap pair of wireless headphones that is more focused on keeping its low price than offering the most up-to-date features and a strong performance all round. As the flagship product from the Chinese audio company, the W820NB Plus give you great value for money… as long as you don’t mind seeing some corners cut in the sound department.

This entry in Edifier’s 2023 portfolio of headphones offers a great range of customization over your listening experience: there are three levels of noise cancellation, four different EQ modes and an optional gaming latency toggle to let you tweak the way the cans sound. The touch controls are some of the most convenient I’ve used on a pair of headphones too, letting you change volume and toggle ANC with an easy touch of the right pad. 

Unfortunately, the ability to modify your listening experience in-app or using touch controls doesn’t matter as much as it could as the W820NB Plus simply doesn’t sound too great – the mid is seriously lacking and music sounds tinny when the volume is turned up too high. That may seem like a huge issue with the headphones but it’s not – music quality isn’t the only important factor when considering cans and sometimes, features, price and battery life are even more important than sound quality.

The W820NB Plus does have a few other issues, and the main one is in the setup process. Edifier has four different smartphone apps for some reason, and even when you’ve worked out the right one (Edifier Connect), you will need to do some volume tweaking before you can make the most of the cans. Oh, and with no carry case or ability to be folded down, the Edifier W820NB Plus certainly isn’t the most portable headphones on the market either.

Unless you’re looking to spend hundreds on the best over-ear headphones on the market, then you’ll have to contend with the nuanced budget headphone market. As far as sub-$100/£100 headphones go, the Edifier W820NB Plus are par for the course, offering a solid feature set but at the expense of audio quality. But if you’d rather have customization, affordability and easy touch controls over top-tier sound, the Edifier W820NB Plus is worth considering.

Edifier W820NB Plus review: Price and release date

Edifier W820NB Plus

(Image credit: Future)
  • Released in May 2023
  • Priced at  $79.99 / £79.99 / AU$80.99

The Edifier were made available to buy in mid-May 2023, as one of the brand’s bustling line of over- or on-ear headphones. They cost $79.99 / £79.99 / AU$80.99, so these certainly count as cheap wireless headphones, designed for people who aren’t audiophiles but don’t want to opt for random tat online. 

Edifier’s full headphone line runs from options half that price, to ones four times that cost, so it’s on the lower end but not right at the bottom. 

At that price, the competition includes the $130 / £90 / AU$189 JBL Tune 670NC and the $60 / £60 / AU$77 Sony WH-CH520, the latter of which ranks in our list of the best cheap headphones as the premier budget on-ear headphones. 

Edifier W802NB Plus review: Specs

Edifier W820NB Plus review: Features

Edifier W820NB Plus

(Image credit: Future)
  • Total battery life of up to 49 hours
  • A little fiddly to set up 
  • App offers range of handy extra features

You can get quite a bit of extra mileage out of the Edifier W820NB Plus using the app… if you can set it up correctly. You see, Edifier offers four different apps on the Play Store or App Store, and there’s no clear indication on which is the correct one, so you’ve got a 25% chance of picking correctly the first time (let me turn that to 100%: it’s Edifier Connect).

Once you’ve installed the app, it’s incredibly easy to pair the headphones to it, so it’s only the set-up process that’s a pain (which, I must add, isn’t mandatory, as you can use the headphones without it. But the extra functions are handy).

Using the app, you can flick between three noise cancellation modes: off, on, and Ambient. The first two are self explanatory, while Ambient sits somewhere in between, allowing in background noises like vehicles or loud shouts without letting the drone of everyday life get in the way. For the most part, the Edifier’s noise cancellation works well, though it sometimes struggles outdoors with wind or other such forces.

Another feature of the app is a gaming mode, which boosts latency at the slight expense of sound quality. It’s handy for prolific mobile gamers, and can help in competitive games when hearing the direction of footsteps and combat can mean the difference between success and failure.

The other primary feature is that you can use Edifier Connect to move between four EQ modes: Classic, Pop, Classical and Rock. Changing modes has an annoying pause as the assistant voice tells you the new mode, and this gap may be why I struggled to hear a big difference between the modes.

Edifier W820NB Plus

(Image credit: Future)

A few other features of Edifier Connect are worth flagging. It has its own on-board volume control that’s independent of your phone’s, so if you’re not aware, the W820NB Plus can sound a little too quiet when you start using them. I’d recommend you crank this to full straight away, and then fully rely on your phone’s volume rocker going forward to change volume. 

The other noteworthy feature is fun: Soothing sounds is a library of ambient noises like ‘Twilight resonance’, ‘Relaxing piano with white noise’ or ‘Waves and seagulls’. You could use these to help lull you to sleep, get into a meditative state or, as I found when writing this review, focus your mind to get more productive and write more headphone reviews. Just note that most of these tracks are about a minute long, so you need to turn on the looping function or re-play them every minute.

In terms of battery life, you’re looking at 49 hours, which drops to just 33 when you turn on ambient noise cancellation. That’s over a day of listening whichever mode you have on, which is certainly nothing to turn the nose up at, though it’s not quite the 70 hours of the JBL Tune 670NC or other super-long-lasting low-cost rivals.

The lack of wear detection means that, to save battery, you need to remember to turn off the headphones when you finish listening with them. Thankfully, as described, the buttons are easy to use.

You charge the W820NB Plus using a USB-C cable, and it’ll take roughly an hour and a half for you to get the headphones all the way from empty to full. Fast charging means you can get 7 hours of use from just 10 minutes of charging though, if you’re in a hurry.

  • Features score: 4/5

Edifier W820NB Plus review: Design

Edifier W820NB Plus

(Image credit: Future)
  • Standard-looking headphones with five color options
  • Easy-to-use control buttons
  • Doesn't fold; no IP rating

The Edifier W820NB Plus don’t exactly shake things up in the world of headphone design, but there’s nothing wrong with that. There are five different color options available: black, gray, green blue and ivory. We tested the latter.

They’re fairly comfy to wear although, as with all headphones, too much continuous wear can lead to some aching. Tactically-placed pads offset this to an extent. The size of the band can be extended some ways, although not as much as on some rival headphones.

On the right can you have the W820NB Plus’ controls: there’s a button that toggles between ambient noise and noise cancellation, a power button and volume up and down buttons. They’re all fairly easy to find and use, though as the buttons don’t protrude much, it can be a case of trial and error on your first few attempts at using the headphones. You’ll quickly get used to the positioning though.

You’re not getting a 3.5mm headphone jack on the cans – sorry, people who like to have wired connectivity as an option, but you won’t be able to do so here. You’re also not getting an official IP rating, so handle with care.

Another thing sadly absent from the Edifier is any form of portability consideration. You can’t fold the headphones down into a smaller form factor, there’s no included carry case, and the structure and build of the cans don’t feel suited to being shoved in a backpack. If you’re not planning to wear these on your head or around your neck, you can’t really take them anywhere!

  • Design score: 3.5/5

Edifier 820NB Plus review: Sound quality

Edifier W820NB Plus

(Image credit: Future)
  • Limited sound stage
  • Initially a little quiet

After a few sections of praises, the Edifier W820NB Plus delivers in the audio section a result a bit more in keeping with its price. By no means does music played over the headphones sound bad, but it doesn’t really sound good enough – it’s much more middle-of-the-road.

The main issue is that the headphones lack a palpable sound stage, so the bass doesn’t sound low and the treble doesn’t sit above the mid – music sounds like one unidentified mush of sound and mid sounds are a little lost in the melee.

Once you’ve gotten past the app volume problems mentioned earlier, the W820NB Plus can get nice and loud, but at higher volumes the music sounds quite tinny, especially those mid sounds that are struggling to cut into the mix as is.

To be clear, the Edifier W820NB Plus still sound decent – I used them for lots of movie watching and music streaming beyond what’s required for review testing – it’s just decent ‘for the price’. They’re a far cry from cheapie Amazon headphones or the kind your grandma might buy you for Christmas, but they won’t compare to $150 / £150 / AU$200 plus rivals from the major brands.

  • Sound quality: 2.5/5

Should I buy the Edifier 820NB Plus?

Buy it if…

Don’t buy it if…

Edifier 820NB Plus review: Also consider

How I tested the Edifier 820NB Plus

Edifier W820NB Plus

(Image credit: Future)
  • Tested for over 20 days
  • Tested at home, in the office, on public transport and on walks

I tested the Edifier 820NB Plus for over three weeks before starting to write this review, so they were subjected to quite a bit of use. 

Testing was done while in quiet rooms like my home and the office, while on walks around my local area and also on public transport like coaches, tubes and buses. I mostly used it while connected to my Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Android phone for music streaming, calls and gaming, but also paired it sometimes to my iPad Pro to watch movies or TV shows.

I've been testing tech gadgets for TechRadar for over five years now. Currently, I write freelance for several sections including audio, but previously I worked as a staff writer and section editor for the phones section. 

  • First reviewed in February 2024
WhatsApp can now hide your IP address during calls
9:14 pm | November 8, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

The latest version of WhatsApp for Android and iOS now supports hiding your IP address. The feature will hide your IP address from the other party on your call through WhatsApp servers and your real-world location. WhatsApp is also adding another new privacy feature which allows users to silence unknown callers. This feature will block even more sophisticated cyber-attacks on users’ data. To enable the new Protect IP address in calls feature, you'll need to go through the following steps inside the WhatsApp app: Tap Settings Go to Privacy Select Advanced Tap Protect IP address...

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level review: a premium Scandinavian style speaker
3:00 pm | August 20, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level: Three-minute review

It’s hard to hate the Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level when it offers as fantastic and versatile an audio experience as it does; it’s hard to hate the speaker but that’s despite the many very valid reasons to.

For many brands, a $1,899 / £1,449 / AU$3,250 speaker like the Beosound Level would constitute the very top of its line. Not for Bang and Olufsen, with the Danish audio company offering many more devices that dwarf this in terms of cost, but it’s still worth considering this as a premium speaker.

This is a Wi-Fi speaker, designed not to be toted around to parties and picnics (or even around the home) but left in a corner ready to play tunes, podcasts, the radio, TV and more. The eye-watering price of this Wi-Fi speaker is just one bullet in the chamber of critics, but there are many more. Its design means it’ll look odd in most audio set-ups (unless your home is so packed with Scandi decor that people confuse it for an Ikea showroom), you have to use a smartphone app to set up the speaker, and it’s packed full of unnecessary features that sometimes keep reminding you you’re not using them (looking at you, microphone!).

But if we’re being on the level, the Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level is one of the best wireless speakers we’ve tested, and that’s because it's the cream of the crop in terms of audio quality and versatility. The Beosound Level is compatible with just about every audio standard and feature introduced since the wax record was invented. Not only are things like Spotify Connect, AirPlay and Chromecast built in, but it has an old-school 3.5mm jack and Ethernet port.

The speaker also offers plenty of ways to tweak your audio experience, with different playback modes depending on how you orient it (though some are much more handy than others), and various sound profiles to pick between to tweak how audio sounds.

Because of the music quality aspects, we’re struggling to be down on the Beosound Level. That’s something we need to state given that you’ve just seen a positive score for the speaker and are about to read over a thousand words of criticism for it. But it’s worth pointing out: this is a speaker for audiophiles and if you just want a budget or affordable speaker that plays music as soon as you press ‘play’, there are many other options out there for you.

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level: Price and release date

  • Released in February 2021
  • Empties wallets at $1,899 / £1,449 / AU$3,250

The Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level went on sale at the beginning of February 2021. The speaker costs an eye-watering $1,899 / £1,449 / AU$3,250, which would make it one of the most expensive consumer-grade Wi-Fi speakers, especially considering the many other Bang and Olufsen offerings.

We should point out that in most regions, there's a black mesh version that's a little cheaper. In the UK, there's also a Lilac Twilight model, which is somehow even more expensive at £2,199. We tested the Gold Tone version, which is what the above prices are for.

The price means it’s hard to compare to many rivals. Neither Sonos, Bowers and Wilkins nor Marshall have any similar products at this price point. That’s because the sound is by far one of the priciest Wi-Fi speakers on the market.

In terms of function and price, it’s best compared to the Devialet Phantom or Naim Mu-So, two other speakers with divisive designs and fantastic audio quality.

The Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level on a table

(Image credit: Future)

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level review: Specs

The Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level on a table

The Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level, with a charging fob showing the brand's name. (Image credit: Future)

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level review: Features

  • A 16-hour battery life
  • More connectivity features than you can shake a stick at
  • Phone / tablet app is required

The Bang and Olufsen Beoplay Level is packed to the brim with connectivity options. You’ve got old-school options like a 3.5mm aux port and ethernet dock as well as support for Bluetooth 5.0, 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz Wi-Fi and radio reception. It also has support for Chromecast, B&O’s BeoLink Multiroom feature (for multiple speaker pairings), Google Assistant, Spotify Connect and Apple AirPlay 2.

The Beosound Level is ostensibly a Wi-Fi speaker but you’ve got plenty of connectivity options, something which gives it major points from us. We also tested Bluetooth, radio, Spotify Connect and more and all sounded solid, save for AirPlay. This offered worse-quality audio and pairing took much longer than other options, with less responsive device control during playback. Avoid!

Bang and Olufsen cites the Beosound Level as having a 16-hour battery life. Though, if you’re like us, you’ll just leave the thing plugged in rather than hunting around for a charging cable every 16 hours, especially since we noticed some battery drain issues when the speaker was off.

Charging is done with either a USB-C port on the back of the speaker or a magnetic charging fob that snaps onto the back of the gadget. This latter option was much more convenient and is what we resorted to. Charging the speaker from empty to full takes three hours.

You need to use the Bang and Olufsen app to set up your speaker – it’s not optional, like on many rival devices. The app offers you the ability to fine-tune your listening experience with one of six preset sound modes (night, party, custom, etc.) and do other things like choose a radio station, set up multi-room listening and so on. Through our day-to-day use we didn’t find ourselves booting this up much but audiophiles might find the offered options very handy.

The Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level on a table

The Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level on a table, showing its ports (Image credit: Future)
  • Features score: 4.5/5

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level review: Design

  • Gold Tone model has an apiary design
  • Plentiful buttons and modes on top bar
  • Heavy and large, with no IP rating

The design of the B&O Beosound Level is likely going to be a hot topic, as the appearance of this speaker is undoubtedly a divisive one. While it’s won awards from some prestigious bodies, everyone who spotted it during our testing period opted for ridicule over praise.

To be frank, the speaker looks a lot like an apiary and we wouldn’t have been surprised to see bees trying to make honey in it (if the British ecosystem had any of the black-gold buzzers left). The wood-texture look of the Level (at least for the Gold Tone version we tested) will certainly help it fit in with 'hygge' Ikea-inspired home decors, but if you have any other kind of home, the Beosound Level will stick out like a sore malm.

Unfortunately, our design quibbles aren’t exclusively leveled at the Besound Level’s aesthetic qualities, but at more objective points too. The speaker is designed to be used in different set-ups: you can stand it upright, lay it down or even hang it from the wall (if you want to shell out roughly $100 for a wall hanger).

These positions all have issues. Hang the Beosound Level from a wall and you’re shelling out extra cash for a high risk of a dropped speaker – that’s a "no thanks" from us. Standing the speaker upright does make it easier to fit in your home but audio quality suffers, and we found that the Beosound Level had to be used on hard surfaces, as when we tried to stand it on carpet it just toppled over. Laying the speaker flat may take up more room, and means it’s tricky to charge it while in use, but it noticeably increases audio quality. This was our preferred choice during testing. While it’s good that there are options for users, a slightly bigger stand would ensure that the Beosound Level could actually be used standing up.

When you first set up the Beosound Level, the number of buttons it has on the top can be quite overwhelming. As well as the power button and a microphone toggle, which announces that it’s turned off every time you turn on the speaker, there’s a volume up and down button. There are also lights showing you what level the volume is at, which is useful, a second microphone button, which is not so useful, and buttons for pausing, playing, skipping and rewinding tracks. In addition, there's a Bluetooth button and four ‘favorites’ buttons that you can map to radio stations, Google voice commands or Spotify Connect stations.

We didn’t end up using these favorite buttons for anything other than testing purposes – you can’t review a speaker if you stick to the tunes of one beloved playlist – but if you have a regular station or function you use, they could be handy. 

The other port of note on the speaker is the USB-C charging port, though it has a magnetic strip so you can charge it via a magnetic fob a la Apple’s MagSafe if you prefer – we found this more handy. Hidden under this charging dock is a 3.5mm headphone jack and ethernet port, which will certainly be handy for some users depending on your tech set-up, though these are easy to miss if you don’t read the user guide.

Despite being a wireless device, and having a handle, the Beosound Level certainly isn’t a portable speaker. It weighs 3.3kg and measures 34.8 x 23 x 6.6 cm – suffice to say you won’t be carrying this out on your picnics.

There’s no official IP rating here but it’s worth flagging another selling point of the Beosound Level. The speaker has a modular design, so if anything is damaged it’s easy to simply repair that one part instead of getting a whole new speaker. In this regard it’s built for longevity, which should make that four-figure price tag a little easier to swallow.

The Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level on a table

The Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level laid flat on a table (Image credit: Future)
  • Design score: 3/5

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level review: Sound quality

Finally, we can say nice things about the Beosound Level! As you can imagine for a speaker that costs more than a month's rent in London, Bang and Olufsen ensures that you’re getting fantastic sounds from the Beosound Level. 

There’s a vast soundstage here, with different instruments easily identified and separated, even the ones that’d be first to go on a lesser speaker like background synths or keys. 

Whether we listened to the discography of Saint Motel, or Watsky, or even Bob Dylan, the speaker could bring out elements of a song that could easily be buried. In fact, when listening to podcasts the tone of a speaker’s voice was more palpable than it otherwise would be.

The Beosound Level goes loud too – we generally tested it on a third of the max volume and it was already providing room-filling sound. For the sake of our neighbors, we didn’t try to test the speaker at max, though an accident that involved us leaning on the ‘volume up’ button without realizing it showed that this thing can really hit deafening heights (if you’re leaning on it).

We’d recommend you lay the Beosound Level down when you listen, as this enables 360-degree listening instead of 180-degree. Perhaps for static TV watching and desk working, the directional sound is fine, but for room filling audio, it is almost necessary.

If we had to nitpick, we’d say that in the default sound mode, the treble is dropped a teeny tiny bit in the mix. Of course, going into custom mode can fix this, but there are always trade-offs with this approach aren’t there? Plus, the app’s Beosound Level presets seem to have a love-hate relationship with bass, either snapping it from existence (Speech) or boosting it dramatically (Party). We found ourselves sticking with Optimal mode, though audiophiles can jump into Custom for their preferred sounds. 

This is certainly a minor point though, and we’re hard-pressed to think of a speaker that doesn’t go too hard or soft on bass.

The Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level on a table

The Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level on a table, with all its buttons on show. (Image credit: Future)
  • Sound quality: 4.5/5

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level review: Value

Don’t come to the Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level expecting a value speaker. There are plenty of low-cost boxes, cylinders and spheres if you want decent audio and a handful of features at a low cost.

No. This is a premium speaker for the audiophile who wants it all. With its deluge of connectivity options, versatile sound stages and ‘designer’ appearance, this is a product for people who need the very best that money can buy (without dipping into professional gear or the really ludicriously-priced top top end of speakers).

  • Value score: 3/5

The Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level on a table

The Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level being picked up by its handle. (Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level?

The Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level on a table

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if…

Don’t buy it if…

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Level review: Also consider

First reviewed in August 2023

Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 to have periscope camera and IP rating
2:15 pm | April 21, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

The vivo X Fold2 is official and Chinese leaksters are now focusing on the next big thing - the Xiaomi Mix Fold 3. According to Digital Chat Station, the new foldable will arrive in H2 2023 with Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. The upcoming foldable will also bring a periscope camera and a waterproof body. The actual rating is yet to be determined after the product has completed testing. The Mix Fold 2 arrived with 67W charging, and Xiaomi will keep the same speed in the next-gen phone but, this time, will introduce wireless charging, which may open the door for reverse wireless...